A case study in party differences.

July 12th, 2011 by De Onion

With today’s news that the PLP and OBA are in a virtual tie thanks to drops in PLP support we get the following responses from each of the parties:

From the PLP:

Reacting to the results, PLP public relations officer Curtis Williams said: “The Progressive Labour Party is steadfast in our mission to ensure that Bermuda emerges from the Great Recession stronger than before.

“Our Party Leader and the PLP team are firmly committed to the people of Bermuda, and will continue to provide opportunities for our people to succeed and build a better life for themselves and their families.

“The people of Bermuda have heard and will hear more about the Government’s continuing plans to retrain Bermudians and put our people to work.”

It says nothing. It’s pure bullshit that promotes the PLP while making absolutely no attempt to engage in relevant facts, discussion, or display a grip on any concept other than the need to promote a brand.

Compare to the UBP’s response:

UBP leader Kim Swan pointed out that the previous poll in April showed the combined Opposition of UBP and Bermuda Democratic Alliance, had scored 35 percent.

He said: “Notwithstanding, the result reflects the disrespect shown to UBP by members who were elected under its banner in December 2007 but failed to resign their seats to form a new party.

“It has shown up clearly when you compare the combined Opposition poll last quarter when the combined parties polled at 35 percent. That poll result reflected more a coalition between UBP/BDA.”

He added that the number of ‘don’t knows’ had climbed from 23 percent to 37 percent.

“This high unknown number can possibly be associated with the elimination of BDA’s seven percent not translating to OBA and uncertainty surrounding the UBP proving to be huge,” he said.

“To paraphrase Bob Marley, they can run away but they can’t run away from themselves.”

Clearly engaged in the topic, but no politics. Just talk about the numbers themselves.

Compare to the OBA’s response:

“A significant majority of Bermudians have lost faith in the PLP Government’s ability to protect the people’s interest and to assure them there will be a better, more secure future.

“This is a consequence of years when the Government failed to act on best advice to adjust their policies to care for the public purse or to prepare for anticipated challenges, from international competitors luring away businesses to the recession.

“The Government’s new plan to reverse long-standing PLP policies is tacit and belated recognition that it got things badly wrong.

“The widespread disapproval of the Government’s performance reflects not just the hardship that thousands of families are experiencing today but also a deep concern that the Government does not know how to manage The Fates: arguably the most important quality for the success of any Bermuda Government.

“The performance rating of the One Bermuda Alliance is disappointing, despite the fact that the party is only weeks old and that this is our first poll.

“I have spoken with quite a few of my colleagues about the result and I can say it only steels our determination to work harder to get the Island on the path to recovery, where jobs are worked and pay cheques are earned by all who want to participate.

“We will continue to present ideas and solutions for safer streets, more jobs and an education system that enables our children to take advantage of a growing economy. We believe in Bermuda and that gives us confidence to keep moving forward. Bermuda can do so much better.”

It hit them both. Both the political branding of the OBA and at least superficial engagement with the real meaning of the numbers. The only place they got it wrong was to not be more gung-ho about the OBA’s growth in support from its founding.

Political Risk

July 10th, 2011 by De Onion

Well, it’s nice to see some liberalisation of immigration and housing, but these issues highlight what a political risk Bermuda has become.

The problem here is that to repeal the policies is too little too late – the problem is that these policies became law in the first place. Changes to both immigration and housing rules bought with them massive unintended consequences that have seriously hurt Bermuda and Bermudians– from the term-limit induced economic meltdown that began at the same time as the global recession to the blatant discrimination against Bermudians married to expatriates while foreign developers were given carte blanche to get into residential real estate.

This quote really sums it up:

Leroy Douglas, president of the Real Estate Division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce said: “I hoped that Government would be more receptive to some of our input. I’m delighted to see this coming to fruition.” He added: “In the past, rules and regulations were put into practice and we were given no opportunity to have a say. This is a start.”

At the core – the PLP politicians did not bother to understand the impact of the rules before they were put in place, and when warned about the likely consequences by experts they were ignored. The inability to listen to expertise is a real cultural problem in the party and is one of the major elements of their unfitness to govern. Thankfully some new ministers are finally getting the message.

Define this for me…

July 7th, 2011 by De Onion

How is this not corruption?

Former Premier Ewart Brown and Government consultant Rolfe Commissiong are planning to set up a new health agency.

The pair are linking up with Ven Subramanian, the consultant who coordinated Dr Brown’s trip to India last year, to create Bermuda Healthcare Agency, according to a legal notice in the Bermuda Sun published yesterday.

Ewart Brown went to India on the public purse and did personal business deals… $37,000 of the public’s money funded the trip.

Sharwood once listed Ewart Brown’s son as an advisor and was very dangerously close to breaking the law when it offered investment opportunities in Bermuda (the website has since been amended).

It’s also worth noting that Charters Chambers is Mark Pettingil’s law firm and he’s certainly setting fire to his and his firm’s reputation by doing Brown’s business.

Charter Chambers, the law firm acting for the group, did not respond when asked for more details on the project yesterday;

Just so we’re clear on Bermuda’s definition of corruption, here’s Section 111 of the Criminal Code Act:

Official corruption
Any person— who, being employed in the public service, or being the holder of any public office and being charged with the performance of any duty by virtue of such employment or office (not being a duty touching the administration of justice) corruptly asks, receives, or obtains, or agrees, or attempts to receive or obtain, any property or benefit of any kind for himself or for any other person on account of anything already done or omitted to be done, or to be afterwards done or omitted to be done, by him in the discharge of the duties of his office; or who corruptly gives, confers, or procures, or promises or offers to give or confer or to procure or attempt to procure, to, upon, or for, any person employed in the public service, or being the holder of any public office, or to, upon, or for, any other person, any property or benefit of any kind on account of any such act or omission on the part of the person so employed or holding such office, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.